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Karen Martin and Beverley Ireland-Symonds promote the value of having effective communication skills for individuals, teams and organisations.
Friday, 29 October 2010

Slamming the phone down on customers is not part of the service!

I’ve received four calls this week from call centres overseas asking to speak to my partner and each one has ended with the caller putting the phone down on me!


On each occasion, the following has taken place: I’ve answered the call, rather than a man, as they were expecting, and they’ve instantly assumed that I’m the ‘wife’ and started calling me Mrs Smith. I realise that this is a cultural difference, but my response is always, “There’s no Mrs Smith here? which instantly throws them.

If they don’t put the phone down at this point, I ask who’s calling, which they are always reluctant to tell me. I find this very strange as they are either calling to speak to my partner because he’s one of their customers, or they are hoping he’ll be a potential customer – either way it surely makes sense to give the company’s name!

After insisting that they tell me who’s calling for a few seconds longer, the call always ends with them putting the phone down on me. Now I admit that I am winding these callers up slightly, but I can’t believe that it’s part of any company’s customer service plan to put the phone down on customers.

I’ve also noticed that once I start asking questions that seem to deviate from the script the caller is following, he/she is unable to continue with the conversation.

If companies decide to relocate their call centres and customer service centres overseas, why oh why don’t they provide better training for the staff working in these centres? I’ve worked with students and clients from many different countries for the last 16 years and I understand that it’s difficult to teach someone how to act in a different cultural setting, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

If you are going to base your call centres overseas, train your staff properly!


Now where’s that number to block cold calls…?

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